Senate Sends Customs DG Out Of National Assembly
Against the demand of the senators, Comptroller-General of the Nigerian Customs Service, Hameed Ali appeared a the National Assembly complex in mufti.
He was, however, sent out when he appeared on the floor of the Senate.
This was done through a voice vote during plenary presided by Senate Deputy President, Ike Ekweremadu on Thursday.
After entering the Senate, Ali was asked by Ekweremadu why he didn't appear in uniform.
"Please oblige us if you have any reason for not wearing the Customs uniform & the CG says no law against him not wearing Uniform." Ekweremadu asked.
Also speaking, Sen. Ibn Na'Allah attacked Ali saying that the circular issued by Ali stating to the Senate that he won't wear his uniform is derogoratory.
Sen. Na'Allah further cited Sections 7,8 &10 of the Customs Act which states that the Customs shares same privileges with police and other instutions. He wondered why Ali's case should be different.
Adding his voice too, Sen. George Sekibo said that Ali must re-appear before the Senate in his uniform.
Sen. B. Jibrin told the Senate that Ali should lead by example by wearing the uniform.
"CG needs to go & apply the law of the land by wearing uniform before he addresses us, as stipulated in our constitution," Jibrin said.
After the debate, the Senate concluded that Ali must go back and return on Wednesday in uniform before he can be attended to by the Senate.
The Senate had earlier directed Ali, to appear before its Committee on Customs and Excise in appropriate uniform to defend the retrospective duty payment on vehicles in Nigeria.
Following his failure to appear before the Senate as earlier expected, the Senate had on Wednesday invoked Section 89 of the constitution to compel Mr. Ali to appear Thursday or risk arrest.
Although the Customs had suspended the controversial policy Wednesday morning in obedience to the Senate, the lawmakers insisted he must appear before them.Ali has refused to wear the Customs uniform since his appointment over a year ago, arguing that as a retired soldier, he should not be seen putting any other uniform.